Kwassa Kwassa What What?

Kwassa kwassa is the primary dance of Congolese Soukous, in which the legs shake, the hips roll around and the hands follow the hips’ motion. The dance originated in the 1970s and became popular all over Africa in the ’80s. The name for the dance may have come from the French “Quoi ça”? (what’s that?). The kwassa kwassa appeared almost two decades after the Congos became independent, but its relationship to soukous makes it feel like it celebrates freedom.